During the course of Little Tokyo's mid-20th-century urban renewal, entire city blocks were leveled to make way for modern retail and office complexes, including the Japanese Village Plaza and Paker Center. When the dust had finally settled in the 1980s, a small parking lot between Weller Court and the Kajima Building had somehow managed to escape the process almost completely untouched. Now, after sitting idle for decades, the roughly half-acre property has been enveloped by Downtown's ongoing residential construction boom.
According to plans filed with the city in early November, the proposed development at 118 Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Street would consist of a six-story building, featuring 66 apartment units above ground-floor retail space. The low-rise structure would also feature a subterranean parking garage, although city records do not currently specify the total number of vehicle stalls planned.
The proposed building joins several other residential-retail complexes that are currently remaking Little Tokyo's western perimeter. A half block south, developers Avalon Bay and the Sares-Regis Group are building two low-rise projects which comprise more than 500 new residential units. West across Los Angeles Street, a seven-story, 236-unit apartment building is planned adjacent to the historic Cathedral of St. Vibiana.